When moving to LA I hastily selected a moving company (OD Moving -- yes, the name alone should have tipped me off) that has revealed itself as at best of poor quality, and more egregiously, dishonest. They lost a box of books (including my journals, iPod charger, and remote controls), scratched my apartment floor badly, ruined my leather chair, charged me $650 more than they quoted, then subcontracted the hauling and delivery to an unlicensed company who forged my signature on a document, and then charged me an additional $135 and didn't unpack my belongings depite the contract. I am most frustrated and amazed by the experience that one poor judgment (ignoring my gut) has had numerous effects.
Yesterday or the day before my iPod was taken from my car. It was hooked up to my stereo and I am not sure if it happened at the valet on Friday night or at the dealership where I dropped it off for service on Saturday morning. What I do know is that when I first got an iTrip, I always removed my iPod from my car. Gradually, I became lazy and repeatedly left it in my car without apparent consequence. Until it bit me. Worse, my other iPod (fortunately I had two) has to be reformatted meaning I'll lose all the songs because it was installed on a Mac, and I have a PC. No problem, but to complete the reformat, you have to plug it into the wall adapter. OK cool, except for my iPod wall adapter was in the box of books that was lost by the movers. Doh.
With the movers and with the person who stole my iPod (whoever you are I hope you like Krishna Das and Interpol, chump) okay, I'm mildly irritated. More importantly, these things really got me thinking about karma. I know that when I commit an act against another person (e.g. gossip) it hurts me more than it hurts the other. The "sin" (I shudder to use this word b/c of its vulgar context) is of greater detriment to my soul than to theirs. This is just the law of karma, or cause and effect. To my earlier examples, when I act without preparation or counter to instinct, sometimes I'm lucky, but usually luck will run out, and then I must face the consequences. This is not Universal vengeance -- it's balance. I have only a cursory understanding of karma though I sense that the way in which our acts are balanced -- "bad" or "good" (sorry for the repeated quotation marks, but I believe that common ideas of good vs. bad, right vs. wrong, and sin are a whole 'nother blog) - are not necessarily obvious.
Riveting observation #2: It's dumb to ignore instinct for blind faith. Often when I want to ignore instinct and/or better judgment, I make the excuse that God will protect me from harm. While that's true, there is still free will and God has done his part if I'm getting the instinct to begin with. What I choose to do with that, in these cases, ignore it, is entirely my choice. I ignore my gut sometimes out of laziness (iPod) and sometimes out of fear. With the movers I should have backed out in the beginning when I realized they would only take cash or postal money order but I'd had several conversations with the rep and I didn't want to appear distrusting. Uhhh what? I'm shaking my own head right now. A teacher in Cambridge used to tell this story. It went something like this:
This guy is in a shipwreck and he's drifting in the ocean hanging on to only a piece of wood. He's praying to God saying, "God please save me. Please please save me." A day goes by and he sees a foreign ship. Someone calls out from the ship "climb aboard!" He says, "No no, God's going to save me. But thanks." Another couple of days go by and by this time he's dehydrated and near death and a helicopter flies by. It hovers over him and someone yells from above, "We'll throw down a ladder. Grab it and climb up." "No thanks he says -- God's going to save me." So, another day goes by and he's eaten by a shark (that part is mine, in Brandon's story he just dies. Anyway...). The guy gets to heaven and he's like "God, why didn't you save me?" And God's like, "Dude I sent you down a boat and a helicopter! What else did you want?!" The moral of course being that we have to be aware of the ways in which our prayers are answered. Oftentimes, we reject what we ask for. Oh and then also, do your part.
Among the things Jesse talked about in church today was that when we notice our behaviors out of line with our values, we don't have to freak out or create an opportunity to right them -- we will be given as many chances to rectify / act responsibly as it takes. All you do is notice what didn't feel good and be patient. The opportunity will arise again.
Well I've climbed down off my soap box for this week.
I think I mentioned last week that I have the maturity of a 13-year old. And for that reason I found the title of this Wired article funny. Oh and I do like the content too. Psychologists are finding out that relative failures do not have to equal misery. Or in the author's words, "sucking...can be fun".